Biden administration touts ‘significant progress’ in Made in America Office's first year

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The office’s purpose is to coordinate federal efforts and maximize the use of domestic goods by taxpayer-funded federal agencies when appropriate.

The Office of Management and Budget recognized “significant progress” undertaken by its Made in America Office, one year after it was created through an executive order designed to increase the federal government’s use of domestically produced materials, goods and services.

Led by Made in America Director Celeste Drake, the first-of-its-kind office was structured to oversee governmentwide “Buy American” efforts that have already resulted in changes to federal procurement policies. In a blog post set to publish Tuesday, Drake outlined the nascent office’s major accomplishments, beginning with guidance the Biden Administration issued in June spelling out ways agencies could increase domestic sourcing and decrease the use of exceptions to Made in America laws.

“These policies play a critical role in making Made in America policies more transparent and consistent across the whole federal government,” Drake said.

Drake also called attention to work the Made in America Office performed in conjunction with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, proposing a rule to strengthen Buy America Act requirements. The proposed rule would ultimately increase the content threshold from 55% to 75%, representing “the most robust change to the implementation of the Buy American Act in almost 70 years,” she said.

In fiscal 2020, the federal government spent nearly $700 billion on contracts for things like goods, services and technology, suggesting that small changes in procurement policies could potentially impact billions of dollars in future government spending. 

Drake also called attention to the website her office launched in October. The website addresses the executive order’s calls for accountability and public transparency in waivers from Made in America laws, but it also acts as a flag for American industry. The website allows U.S. businesses to identify and track what federal agencies are not buying domestically, essentially providing them a heads-up on opportunities along with publicly available contact information.

Lastly, Drake pointed to the newly-created Made in America Council, which launched Jan. 19. The council will help coordinate Made in America efforts across the federal government and will be comprised of representation from 23 of the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies and another 28 non-CFO Act independent agencies.

“Not only will the new Council help agencies effectively coordinate their more than $600 billion in annual procurement spending, but it will also help streamline and strengthen the Administration’s work to effectively and efficiently implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” Drake said in a Jan. 19 announcement. “The Council will also share data that can help promote domestic sourcing and best practices across agencies that are facing similar challenges and opportunities, and also surface recommendations to help build and expand critical U.S. supply chains.”

During speeches, President Biden frequently references “Made in America” policies, which have been enhanced by last year’s passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The legislation codified the Made in America Office so that its existence will continue into future administrations. The Made in America Office is working with agencies on the law’s implementation, according to OMB, in order to further incentivize increased domestic production of key goods and services. In Friday remarks he made regarding a new Intel semiconductor chip factory outside in Ohio, Biden reiterated his intent to increase American manufacturing.  

“I made clear while I was running for president and from day one of this administration: We are going to invest in America. We’re investing in American workers. We are going to stamp everything we can ‘Made in America,’” he said.  

In the coming months, the Made in America Office will work to continue improving the website and provide additional guidance to federal agencies.